Dr. Jose Rizal's annotations to Morga's 1609 Philippine History

Tuesday February 28, 2012 ()
Dr. Jose Rizal with a group of Filipinos in Madrid, Spain
(Dr. Jose P. Rizal, center beside Marcelo H. Del Pilar and other Filipinos in Madrid, Spain, 1890.)

TO the Filipinos: In Noli Me Tangere I started to sketch the present state of our native land. But the effect which my effort produced made me realize that, before attempting to unroll before your eyes the other pictures which were to follow, it was necessary first to post you on the past. So only can you fairly judge the present and estimate how much progress has been made during the three centuries (of Spanish rule).

Like almost all of you, I was born and brought up in ignorance of our country's past and so, without knowledge or authority to speak of what I neither saw nor have studied, I deem it necessary to quote the testimony of an illustrious Spaniard who in the beginning of the new era controlled the destinies of the Philippines and had personal knowledge of our ancient nationality in its last days.

It is then the shade of our ancestor's civilization which the author will call before you... If the work serves to awaken in you a consciousness of our past, and to blot from your memory or to rectify what has been falsified or is calumny, then I shall not have labored in vain. With this preparation, slight though it be, we can all pass to the study of the future.

JOSE RIZAL, Europe, 1889.

Governor Antonio de Morga was not only the first to write but also the first to publish a Philippine history. This statement has regard to the concise and concrete form in which our author has treated the matter. Father Chirino's work, printed at Rome in 1604, is rather a chronicle of the Missions than a history of the Philippines; still it contains a great deal of valuable material on usages and customs. The worthy Jesuit in fact admits that he abandoned writing a political history because Morga had already done so, so one must infer that he had seen the work in manuscript before leaving the Islands.

  • By the Christian religion, Doctor Morga appears to mean the Roman Catholic which by fire and sword he would preserve in its purity in the Philippines. Nevertheless in other lands, notably in Flanders, these means were ineffective to keep the church unchanged, or to maintain its supremacy, or even to hold its subjects.

  • Great kingdoms were indeed discovered and conquered in the remote and unknown parts of the world by Spanish ships but to the Spaniards who sailed in them we may add Portuguese, Italians, French, Greeks, and even Africans and Polynesians. The expeditions captained by Columbus and Magellan, one a Genoese Italian and the other a Portuguese, as well as those that came after them, although Spanish fleets, still were manned by many nationalities and in them went negroes, Moluccans, and even men from the Philippines and the Marianes Islands.

  • Three centuries ago it was the custom to write as intolerantly as Morga does, but nowadays it would be called a bit presumptuous. No one has a monopoly of the true God nor is there any nation or religion that can claim, or at any rate prove, that to it has been given the exclusive right to the Creator of all things or sole knowledge of His real being.

  • The conversions by the Spaniards were not as general as their historians claim. The missionaries only succeeded in converting a part of the people of the Philippines. Still there are Mahometans, the Moros, in the southern islands, and negritos, igorots and other heathens yet occupy the greater part territorially of the archipelago. Then the islands which the Spaniards early held but soon lost are non-Christian-Formosa, Borneo, and the Moluccas. And if there are Christians in the Carolines, that is due to Protestants, whom neither the Roman Catholics of Morga's day nor many Catholics in our own day consider Christians.

  • It is not the fact that the Filipinos were unprotected before the coming of the Spaniards. Morga himself says, further on in telling of the pirate raids from the south, that previous to the Spanish domination the islands had arms and defended themselves. But after the natives were disarmed the pirates pillaged them with impunity, coming at times when they were unprotected by the government, which was the reason for many of the insurrections.

  • The civilization of the Pre-Spanish Filipinos in regard to the duties of life for that age was well advanced, as the Morga history shows in its eighth chapter.

  • The islands came under Spanish sovereignty and control through compacts, treaties of friendship and alliances for reciprocity. By virtue of the last arrangement, according to some historians, Magellan lost his life on Mactan and the soldiers of Legaspi fought under the banner of King Tupas of Cebu.

  • The term "conquest" is admissible but for a part of the islands and then only in its broadest sense. Cebu, Panay, Luzon Mindoro and some others cannot be said to have been conquered.

  • The discovery, conquest and conversion cost Spanish blood but still more Filipino blood. It will be seen later on in Morga that with the Spaniards and on behalf of Spain there were always more Filipinos fighting than Spaniards.

  • Morga shows that the ancient Filipinos had army and navy with artillery and other implements of warfare. Their prized krises and kampilans for their magnificent temper are worthy of admiration and some of them are richly damascened. Their coats of mail and helmets, of which there are specimens in various European museums, attest their great advancement in this industry.

  • Morga's expression that the Spaniards "brought war to the gates of the Filipinos" is in marked contrast with the word used by subsequent historians whenever recording Spain's possessing herself of a province, that she pacified it. Perhaps "to make peace" then meant the same as "to stir up war." (This is a veiled allusion to the old Latin saying of Romans, often quoted by Spaniard's, that they made a desert, calling it making peace.-C.)

    Magellan's transferring from the service of his own king to employment under the King of Spain, according to historic documents, was because the Portuguese King had refused to grant him the raise in salary which he asked.

  • Now it is known that Magellan was mistaken when he represented to the King of Spain that the Molucca Islands were within the limits assigned by the Pope to the Spaniards. But through this error and the inaccuracy of the nautical instruments of that time, the Philippines did not fall into the hands of the Portuguese.

  • Cebu, which Morga calls "The City of the Most Holy Name of Jesus," was at first called "The village of San Miguel."

  • The image of the Holy Child of Cebu, which many religious writers believed was brought to Cebu by the angels, was in fact given by the worthy Italian chronicler of Magellan's expedition, the Chevalier Pigafetta, to the Cebuan queen.

  •    Cover of  Morga's 1609 Philippine History
    The expedition of Villalobos, intermediate between Magellan's and Legaspi's, gave the name "Philipina" to one of the southern islands, Tendaya, now perhaps Leyte, and this name later was extended to the whole archipelago.

  • Of the native Manila rulers at the coming of the Spaniards, Raja Soliman was called "Rahang mura", or young king, in distinction from the old king, "Rahang matanda". Historians have confused these personages. The native fort at the mouth of the Pasig river, which Morga speaks of as equipped with brass lantakas and artillery of larger caliber, had its ramparts reenforced with thick hardwood posts such as the Tagalogs used for their houses and called "harigues", or "haligui".

  • Morga has evidently confused the pacific coming of Legaspi with the attack of Goiti and Salcedo, as to date. According to other historians it was in 1570 that Manila was burned, and with it a great plant for manufacturing artillery. Goiti did not take posession of the city but withdrew to Cavite and afterwards to Panay, which makes one suspicious of his alleged victory. As to the day of the date, the Spaniards then, having come following the course of the sun, were some sixteen hours later than Europe. This condition continued till the end of the year 1844, when the 31st of December was by special arrangement among the authorities dropped from the calendar for that year. Accordingly Legaspi did not arrive in Manila on the 19th but on the 20th of May and consequently it was not on the festival of Santa Potenciana but on San Baudelio's day. The same mistake was made with reference to the other early events still wrongly commemorated, like San Andres' day for the repulse of the Chinese corsair Li Ma-hong.

  • Though not mentioned by Morga, the Cebuans aided the Spaniards in their expedition against Manila, for which reason they were long exempted from tribute.

  • The southern islands, the Bisayas, were also called "The land of the Painted People (or Pintados, in Spanish)" because the natives had their bodies decorated with tracings made with fire, somewhat like tattooing.

  • The Spaniards retained the native name for the new capital of the archipelago, a little changed, however, for the Tagalogs had called their city "Maynila."

  • When Morga says that the lands were "entrusted" (given as encomiendas) to those who had "pacified" them, he means "divided up among." The word "en trust," like "pacify," later came to have a sort of ironical signification. To entrust a province was then as if it were said that it was turned over to sack, abandoned to the cruelty and covetousness of the encomendero, to judge from the way these gentry misbehaved.

  • Legaspi's grandson, Salcedo, called the Hernando Cortez of the Philippines, was the "conqueror's" intelligent right arm and the hero of the "conquest." His honesty and fine qualities, talent and personal bravery, all won the admiration of the Filipinos. Because of him they yielded to their enemies, making peace and friendship with the Spaniards. He it was who saved Manila from Li Ma-hong. He died at the early age of twenty-seven and is the only encomendero recorded to have left the great part of his possessions to the Indians of his encomienda. Vigan was his encomienda and the Ilokanos there were his heirs.

  • The expedition which followed the Chinese corsair Li Ma-hong, after his unsuccessful attack upon Manila, to Pangasinan province, with the Spaniards of whom Morga tells, had in it 1,500 friendly Indians from Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Panay, besides the many others serving as laborers and crews of the ships. Former Raja Lakandola, of Tondo, with his sons and his kinsmen went, too, with 200 more Bisayans and they were joined by other Filipinos in Pangasinan.

  • If discovery and occupation justify annexation, then Borneo ought to belong to Spain. In the Spanish expedition to replace on its throne a Sirela or Malaela, as he is variously called, who had been driven out by his brother, more than fifteen hundred Filipino bowmen from the provinces of Pangasinan, Kagayan, and the Bisayas participated.

  • It is notable how strictly the earlier Spanish governors were held to account. Some stayed in Manila as prisoners, one, Governor Corcuera, passing five years with Fort Santiago as his prison.

  • In the fruitless expedition against the Portuguese in the island of Ternate, in the Molucca group, which was abandoned because of the prevalence of beriberi among the troops, there went 1,500 Filipino soldiers from the more warlike provinces, principally Kagayans and Pampangans.

  • The "pacification" of Kagayan was accomplished by taking advantage of the jealousies among its people, particularly the rivalry between two brothers who were chiefs. An early historian asserts that without this fortunate circumstance, for the Spaniards, it would have been impossible to subjugate them.

  • Captain Gabriel de Rivera, a Spanish commander who had gained fame in a raid on Borneo and the Malacca coast, was the first envoy from the Philippines to take up with the King of Spain the needs of the archipelago.

  • -The early conspiracy of the Manila and Pampangan former chiefs was revealed to the Spaniards by a Filipina, the wife of a soldier, and many concerned lost their lives.

  • The artillery cast for the new stone fort in Manila, says Morga, was by the hand of an ancient Filipino. That is, he knew how to cast cannon even before the coming of the Spaniards, hence he was distinguished as 4"ancient." In this difficult art of ironworking, as in so many others, the modern or present-day Filipinos are not so far advanced as were their ancestors.

  • When the English freeboother Cavendish captured the Mexican galleon Santa Ana, with 122,000 gold pesos, a great quantity of rich textiles-silks, satins and damask, musk perfume, and stores of provisions, he took 150 prisoners. All these because of their brave defense were put ashore with ample supplies, except two Japanese lads, three Filipinos, a Portuguese and a skilled Spanish pilot whom he kept as guides in his further voyaging.

  • From the earliset Spanish days ships were built in the islands, which might be considered evidence of native culture. Nowadays this industry is reduced to small craft, scows and coasters.

  • The Jesuit, Father Alonso Sanchez, who visited the papal court at Rome and the Spanish King at Madrid, had a mission much like that of deputies now, but of even greater importance since he came to be a sort of counsellor or representative to the absolute monarch of that epoch. One wonders why the Philippines could have a representative then but may not have one now.

  • In the time of Governor Gomez Perez Dasmarinias, Manila was guarded against further damage such as was suffered from Li Ma-hong by the construction of a massive stone wall around it. This was accomplished "without expense to the royal treasury." The same governor, in like manner, also fortified the point at the entrance to the river where had been the ancient native fort of wood, and he gave it the name Fort Santiago.

  • The early cathedral of wood which was burned through carelessness at the time of the funeral of Governor Dasmarifias' predecessor, Governor Ronquillo, was made, according to the Jesuit historian Chirino, with hardwood pillars around which two men could not reach, and in harmony with this massiveness was all the woodwork above and below. It may be surmised from this how hard workers were the Filipinos of that time.

  • A stone house for the bishop was built before starting on the governor-general's residence. This precedence is interesting for those who uphold the civil power. Morga's mention of the scant output of large artillery from the Manila cannon works because of lack of master foundrymen shows that after the death of the Filipino Panday Pira there were not Spaniards skilled enough to take his place, nor were his sons as expert as he.

  • It is worthy of note that China, Japan and Cambodia at this time maintained relations with the Philippines. But in our day it has been more than a century since the natives of the latter two countries have come here. The causes which ended the relationship may be found in the interference by the religious orders with the institutions of those lands.

  • For Governor Dasmarinas' expedition to conquer Ternate, in the Moluccan group, two Jesuits there gave secret information. In his 200 ships, besides 900 Spaniards, there must have been Filipinos for one chronicler speaks of Indians, as the Spaniards called the natives of the Philippines, who lost their lives and others who were made captives when the Chinese rowers mutinied. It was the custom then always to have a thousand or more native bowmen and besides the crew were almost all Filipinos, for the most part Bisayans.

  • The historian Argensola, in telling of four special galleys for Dasmarinas' expedition, says that they were manned by an expedient which was generally considered rather harsh. It was ordered that there be bought enough of the Indians who were slaves of the former Indian chiefs, or principales, to form these crews, and the price, that which had been customary in pre-Spanish times, was to be advanced by the encomenderos who later would be reimbursed from the royal treasury. In spite of this promised compensation, the measures still seemed severe since those Filipinos were not correct in calling their dependents slaves. The masters treated these, and loved them, like sons rather, for they seated them at their own tables an gave them their own daughters in marriage.

  • Morga says that the 250 Chinese oarsmen who manned Governor Dasmariias' swift galley were under pay and had the special favor of not being chained to their benches. According to him it was covetousness of the wealth aboard that led them to revolt and kill the governor. But the historian Gaspar de San Agustin states that the reason for the revolt was the governor's abusive language and his threatening the rowers. Both these authors' allegations may have contributed, but more important was the fact that there was no law to compel these Chinamen to row in the galleys. They had come to Manila to engage in commerce or to work in trades or to follow professions. Still the incident contradicts the reputation for enduring everything which they have had. The Filipinos have been much more long-suffering than the Chinese since, in spite of having been obliged to row on more than one occasion, they never mutinied.

  • It is difficult to excuse the missionaries' disregard of the laws of nations and the usages of honorable politics in their interference in Cambodia on the ground that it was to spread the Faith. Religion had a broad field awaiting it then in the Philippines where more than nine-tenths of the natives were infidels. That even now there are to be found here so many tribes and settlements of non-Christians takes away much of the prestige of that religious zeal which in the easy life in towns of wealth, liberal and fond of display, grows lethargic. Truth is that the ancient activity was scarcely for the Faith alone, because the missionaries had to go to islands rich in spices and gold though there were at hand Mahometans and Jews in Spain and Africa, Indians by the million in the Americas, and more millions of protestants, schismatics and heretics peopled, and still people, over six-sevenths of Europe. All of these doubtless would have accepted the Light and the true religion if the friars, under pretext of preaching to them, had not abused their hospitality and if behind the name Religion had not lurked the unnamed Domination.

  • In the attempt made by Rodriguez de Figueroa to conquer Mindanao according to his contract with the King of Spain, there was fighting along the Rio Grande with the people called the Buhahayenes. Their general, according to Argensola, was the celebrated Silonga, later distinguished for many deeds in raids on the Bisayas and adjacent islands. Chirino relates an anecdote of his coolness under fire once during a truce for a marriage among Mindanao "principalia." Young Spaniards out of bravado fired at his feet but he passed on as if unconscious of the bullets.

  • Argensola has preserved the name of the Filipino who killed Rodriguez de Figueroa. It was Ubal. Two days previously he had given a banquet, slaying for it a beef animal of his own, and then made the promise which he kept, to do away with the leader of the Spanish invaders. A Jesuit writer calls him a traitor though the justification for that term of reproach is not apparent. The Buhahayen people were in their own country, and had neither offended nor declared war upon the Spaniards. They had to defend their homes against a powerful invader, with superior forces, many of whom were, by reason of their armor, invulnerable so far as rude Indians were concerned. Yet these same Indians were defenceless against the balls from their muskets. By the Jesuit's line of reasoning, the heroic Spanish peasantry in their war for independence would have been a people even more treacherous. It was not Ubal's fault that he was not seen and, as it was wartime, it would have been the height of folly, in view of the immense disparity of arms, to have first called out to this preoccupied opponent,and then been killed himself.

  • The muskets used by the Buhahayens were probably some that had belonged to Figueroa's soldiers who had died in battle. Though the Philippines had lantakas and other artillery, muskets were unknown till the Spaniards came.

  • That the Spaniards used the word "discover" very carelessly may be seen from an admiral's turning in a report of his "discovery" of the Solomon islands though he noted that the islands had been discovered before.

  • Death has always been the first sign of European civilization on its introduction in the Pacific Ocean. God grant that it may not be the last, though to judge by statistics the civilized islands are losing their populations at a terrible rate. Magellan himself inaugurated his arrival in the Marianes islands by burning more than forty houses, many small craft and seven people because one of his boats had been stolen. Yet to the simple savages the act had nothing wrong in it but was done with the same naturalness that civilized people hunt, fish, and subjugate people that are weak or ill-armed.

  • The Spanish historians of the Philippines never overlook any opportunity, be it suspicion or accident, that may be twisted into something unfavorable to the Filipinos. They seem to forget that in almost every case the reason for the rupture has been some act of those who were pretending to civilize helpless peoples by force of arms and at the cost of their native land. What would these same writers have said if the crimes committed by the Spaniards, the Portuguese and the Dutch in their colonies had been committed by the islanders?

  • The Japanese were not in error when they suspected the Spanish and Portuguese religious propaganda to have political motives back of the missionary activities. Witness the Moluccas where Spanish missionaries served as spies; Cambodia, which it was sought to conquer under cloak of converting; and many other nations, among them the Filipinos, where the sacrament of baptism made of the inhabitants not only subjects of the King of Spain but also slaves of the encomenderos, and as well slaves of the churches and convents. What would Japan have been now had not its emperors uprooted catholicism? A missionary record of 1625 sets forth that the King of Spain had arranged with certain members of Philippine religious orders that, under guise of preaching the faith and making Christians, they should win over the Japanese and oblige them to make themselves of the Spanish party, and finally it told of a plan whereby the King of Spain should become also King of Japan. In corroboration of this may be cited the claims that Japan fell within the Pope's demarcation lines for Spanish expansion and so there was complaint of missionaries other than Spanish there. Therefore it was not for religion that they were converting the infidels!

  • The raid by Datus Sali and Silonga of Mindanao, in 1599 with 50 sailing vessels and 3,000 warriors, against the capital of Panay, is the first act of piracy by the inhabitants of the South which is recorded in Philippine history. I say "by the inhabitants of the South" because earlier there had been other acts of piracy, the earliest being that of Magellan's expedition when it seized the shipping of friendly islands and even of those whom they did not know, extorting for them heavy ransoms. It will be remembered that these Moro piracies continued for more than two centuries, during which the indomitable sons of the South made captives and carried fire and sword not only in neighboring islands but into Manila Bay to Malate, to the very gates of the capital, and not once a year merely but at times repeating their raids five and six times in a single season. Yet the government was unable to repel them or to defend the people whom it had disarmed and left without protection. Estimating that the cost to the islands was but 800 victims a year, still the total would be more than 200,000 persons sold into slavery or killed, all sacrificed together with so many other things to the prestige of that empty title, Spanish sovereignty.

  • Still the Spaniards say that the Filipinos have contributed nothing to Mother Spain, and that it is the islands which owe everything. It may be so, but what about the enormous sum of gold which was taken from the islands in the early years of Spanish rule, of the tributes collected by the encomenderos, of the nine million dollars yearly collected to pay the military, expenses of the employees, diplomatic agents, corporations and the like, charged to the Philippines, with salaries paid out of the Philippine treasury not only for those who come to the Philippines but also for those who leave, to some who never have been and never will be in the islands, as well as to others who have nothing to do with them. Yet all of this is as nothing in comparison with so many captives gone, such a great number of soldiers killed in expeditions, islands depopulated, their inhabitants sold as slaves by the Spaniards themselves, the death of industry, the demoralization of the Filipinos, and so forth, and so forth. Enormous indeed would the benefits which that sacred civilization brought to the archipelago have to be in order to counterbalance so heavy a-cost.

  • While Japan was preparing to invade the Philippines, these islands were sending expeditions to Tonquin and Cambodia, leaving the homeland helpless even against the undisciplined hordes from the South, so obsessed were the Spaniards with the idea of making conquests.

  • In the alleged victory of Morga over the Dutch ships, the latter found upon the bodies of five Spaniards, who lost their lives in that combat, little silver boxes filled with prayers and invocations to the saints. Here would seem to be the origin of the anting-anting of the modern tulisanes, which are also of a religious character.

  • In Morga's time, the Philippines exported silk to Japan whence now comes the best quality of that merchandise.

  • Morga's views upon the failure of Governor Pedro de Acunia's ambitious expedition against the Moros unhappily still apply for the same conditions yet exist. For fear of uprisings and loss of Spain's sovereignty over the islands, the inhabitants were disarmed, leaving them exposed to the harassing of a powerful and dreaded enemy. Even now, though the use of steam vessels has put an end to piracy from outside, the same fatal system still is followed. The peaceful countryfolk are deprived of arms and thus made unable to defend themselves against the bandits, or tulisanes, which the government cannot restrain. It is an encouragemnnt to banditry thus to make easy its getting booty.

  • Hernando de los Rios blames these Moluccan wars for the fact that at first the Philippines were a source of expense to Spain instead of profitable in spite of the tremendous sacrifices of the Filipinos, their practically gratuitous labor in building and equipping the galleons, and despite, too, the tribute, tariffs and other imposts and monopolies. These wars to gain the Moluccas, which soon were lost forever with the little that had been so laboriously obtained, were a heavy drain upon the Philippines. They depopulated the country and bankrupted the treasury, with not the slightest compensating benefit. True also is it that it was to gain the Moluccas that Spain kept the Philippines, the desire for the rich spice islands being one of the most powerful arguments when, because of their expense to him, the King thought of withdrawing and abandoning them.

  • Among the Filipinos who aided the government when the Manila Chinese revolted, Argensola says there were 4,000 Pampangans "armed after the way of their land, with bows and arrows, short lances, shields, and broad and long daggers." Some Spanish writers say that the Japanese volunteers and the Filipinos showed themselves cruel in slaughtering the Chinese refugees. This may very well have been so, considering the hatred and rancor then existing, but those in command set the example.

  • The loss of two Mexican galleons in 1603 called forth no comment from the religious chroniclers who were accustomed to see the avenging hand of God in the misfortunes and accidents of their enemies. Yet there were repeated shipwrecks of the vessels that carried from the Philippines wealth which encomenderos had extorted from the Filipinos, using force, or making their own laws, and, when not using these open means, cheating by the weights and measures.

  • The Filipino chiefs who at their own expense went with the Spanish expedition against Ternate, in the Moluccas, in 1605, were Don Guillermo Palaot, maestro de campo, and Captains Francisco Palaot, Juan Lit, Luis Lont, and Agustin Lont. They had with them 400 Tagalogs and Pampangans. The leaders bore themselves bravely for Argensola writes that in the assault on Ternate, "No officer, Spaniard or Indian, went unscathed."

  • The Cebuans drew a pattern on the skin before starting in to tatoo. The Bisayan usage then was the same procedure that the Japanese today follow.

  • Ancient traditions ascribe the origin of the Malay Filipinos to the island of Sumatra. These traditions were almost completely lost as well as the mythology and the genealogies of which the early historians tell, thanks to the zeal of the missionaries in eradicating all national remembances as heathen or idolatrous. The study of ethnology is restoring this somewhat.

  • The chiefs used to wear upper garments, usually of Indian fine gauze according to Colin, of red color, a shade for which they had the same fondness that the Romans had. The barbarous tribes in Mindanao still have the same taste.

  • The "easy virtue" of the native women that historians note is not solely attributable to the simplicity with which they obeyed their natural instincts but much more due to a religious belief of which Father Chirino tells. It was that in the journey after death to "Kalualhatian," the abode of the spirit, there was a dangerous river to cross that had no bridge other than a very narrow strip of wood over which a woman could not pass unless she had a husband or lover to extend a hand to assist her. Furthermore, the religious annals of the early missions are filled with countless instances where native maidens chose death rather than sacrifice their chastity to the threats and violence of encomenderos and Spanish soldiers. As to the mercenary social evil, that is worldwide and there is no nation that can 'throw the first stone' at any other. For the rest, today the Philippines has no reason to blush in comparing its womankind with the women of the most chaste nation in the world.

  • Morga's remark that the Filipinos like fish better when it is commencing to turn bad is another of those prejudices which Spaniards like all other nations, have. In matters of food, each is nauseated with what he is unaccustomed to or doesn't know is eatable. The English, for example, find their gorge rising when they see a Spaniard eating snails, while in turn the Spanish find roastbeef English-style repugnant and can't understand the relish of other Europeans for beefsteak a la Tartar which to them is simply raw meat. The Chinaman, who likes shark's meat, cannot bear Roquefort cheese, and these examples might be indefinitely extended. The Filipinos' favorite fish dish is the bagong and whoever has tried to eat it knows that it is not considered improved when tainted. It neither is, nor ought to be, decayed.

  • Colin says the ancient Filipinos had minstrels who had memorized songs telling their genealogies and of the deeds ascribed to their deities. These were chanted on voyages in cadence with the rowing, or at festivals, or funerals, or wherever there happened to be any considerable gatherings. It is regretable that these chants have not been preserved as from them it would have been possible to learn much of the Filipinos' past and possibly of the history of neighboring islands.

  • The cannon foundry mentioned by Morga as in the walled city was probably on the site of the Tagalog one which was destroyed by fire on the first coming of the Spaniards. That established in 1584 was in Lamayan, that is, Santa Ana now, and was transferred to the old site in 1590. It continued to work until 1805. According to Gaspar San Agustin, the cannon which the pre-Spanish Filipinos cast were "as great as those of Malaga," Spain's foundry. The Filipino plant was burned with all that was in it save a dozen large cannons and some smaller pieces which the Spanish invaders took back with them to Panay. The rest of their artillery equipment had been thrown by the Manilans, then Moros, into the sea when they recognized their defeat.

  • Malate, better Maalat, was where the Tagalog aristocracy lived after they were dispossessed by the Spaniards of their old homes in what is now the walled city of Manila. Among the Malate residents were the families of Raja Matanda and Raja Soliman. The men had various positions in Manila and some were employed in government work near by. "They were very courteous and well-mannered," says San Agustin. "The women were very expert in lacemaking, so much so that they were not at all behind the women of Flanders."

  • Morga's statement that there was not a province or town of the Filipinos that resisted conversion or did not want it may have been true of the civilized natives. But the contrary was the fact among the mountain tribes. We have the testimony of several Dominican and Augustinian missionaries that it was impossible to go anywhere to make conversions without other Filipinos along and a guard of soldiers. "Otherwise, says Gaspar de San Agustin, there would have been no fruit of the Evangelic Doctrine gathered, for the infidels wanted to kill the Friars who came to preach to them." An example of this method of conversion given by the same writer was a trip to the mountains by two Friars who had a numerous escort of Pampangans. The escort's leader was Don Agustin Sonson who had a reputation for daring and carried fire and sword into the country, killing many, including the chief, Kabadi.

  • "The Spaniards, says Morga, were accustomed to hold as slaves such natives as they bought and others that they took in the forays in the conquest or pacification of the islands." Consequently in this respect the "pacifiers" introduced no moral improvement. We even do not know if in their wars the Filipinos used to make slaves of each other, though that would not have been strange, for the chroniclers tell of captives returned to their own people. The practice of the Southern pirates almost proves this, although in these piratical wars the Spaniards were the first aggressors and gave them their character.

Source: Rizal's Life and Minor Writtings, pp 310-331, Austin Craig, 1929, Translations were made by Mr. Chas. E. Derbyshire for the author.


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Comments (Dr. Jose Rizal's annotations to Morga's 1609 Philippine History )